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Drove my first Elise today!


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and loved it.

The positives:

  • It was gorgeous.  Much better looking than I had imagined up close.  Whoever designed them is a very clever person. 
  • The interior was cool.  I loved the tiny steering wheel and the general 'racing' feel.
  • It went around corners really well
  • I felt amazing in it and it would look amazing on my drive.

 

The negatives:

  • It didn't feel as quick as it looked!  It wasn't my car so I didn't want to push it too hard

It was a  53 plate S2 with what I think was the 118BHP (it's listed as 120BHP).  It's also got 74k on the clock so could some of the power have been lost?  Or is it a dog and one I need to avoid (sorry, difficult question to answer).

I didn't push it past 5000 revs so was that the issue?  I know my old Type R didn't come to life until after 4000 revs and then again after 7000.

 

The bits I need to decide on; do I like them or not....?

  • It's really small.  I hadn't realised how small.  This is probably a good thing
  • The lack of assistance with steering and brakes; I think I should like this as it's real
  • It was a real challenge (6' 1") to get in and out.  Once in I was very comfortable.

 

So for now I'm going to keep looking.  I'm not in a rush and will continue to look for a 111R.  I'm guessing this is the most powerful I can get with a £15k budget.

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Hi Laurence, a stock Elise is not going to snap your neck in a straight line but it might round corners. If you thought it cornered well in the wet, wait till you try it in the dry on good tyres!

Just keep your brain engaged and you'll be fine. If it's slippery out there, as it's likely to be in January, then just take it easy. With an S1 you can get into a slide by coming sharply off t

Glad your first Lotus drive was a good experience overall. A 111r will definitely need to be revved higher, the 2nd cam doesn't kick in until 6200! Well worth it though, it won't fail to raise a smile from there to 8500rpm.

Sounds like the car you drove had a bit more to give but should feel a if anything a bit more torquey at 5k rpm than a 111r.

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Yeah, I probably should have given it a bit more but is wasn't mine and it was also wet; I'm presuming the tail can step out even though they are MRs? 

 

So is the 111R a good all rounder then. I'm looking for something that will put me into the back of the seat BUT I've only got a small budget. 

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Hi Laurence, a stock Elise is not going to snap your neck in a straight line but it might round corners. If you thought it cornered well in the wet, wait till you try it in the dry on good tyres!

For your budget you will find plenty to choose from. Stock are about 120bhp, 111s are 150+, and the 111r is 180+ but the bulk of all gains are at higher revs. You can also easily tune a stock one. There are endless options try DVA Power or Hanger111. Two or three grand will get you an extra 30bhp easily on a stock one.

Condition is key - as is regular use and servicing. Beware of very low mileage ones as all the rubber goes off over time so you will end up replacing as much as you would on a high miler!

I drive mine daily and have only 2 gripes. Getting in and out (5'11) particularly on a wet day in a suit, and gritted teeth as I crash over endless potholes around town! Still the best car I have ever owned though!

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6 hours ago, MartinHarris said:

Hi Laurence, a stock Elise is not going to snap your neck in a straight line but it might round corners. If you thought it cornered well in the wet, wait till you try it in the dry on good tyres!

For your budget you will find plenty to choose from. Stock are about 120bhp, 111s are 150+, and the 111r is 180+ but the bulk of all gains are at higher revs. You can also easily tune a stock one. There are endless options try DVA Power or Hanger111. Two or three grand will get you an extra 30bhp easily on a stock one.

Condition is key - as is regular use and servicing. Beware of very low mileage ones as all the rubber goes off over time so you will end up replacing as much as you would on a high miler!

I drive mine daily and have only 2 gripes. Getting in and out (5'11) particularly on a wet day in a suit, and gritted teeth as I crash over endless potholes around town! Still the best car I have ever owned though!

Great advice, thank you very much. 

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On ‎06‎/‎01‎/‎2016 at 22:47, Boyhooddreamlotus said:

Great advice, thank you very much. 

So when I take one out again is there anything else I need to know?

 

If it's stock Elise, do I need to be aware of the rear; will it step out?  I'm not used to driving an MR but I'm fairly certain it should be pretty controlled.  I used to drive an RR but that was nearly 10 years ago.  It was 200SX so not a huge power to weight ratio but it still got a bit snappy in the wet.

 

At the moment I am planning on taking out a few Elise's before making my mind up.  So I don't want to make a fool of myself (or scare the sales person) if I accidently step the back end out going into a roundabout!

 

 

Moving on the 111S and the 111R, are they both Toyota engines?  A friend of mine thinks the K-series engines will hold their value better than the Toyota's?  Is he talking horse muck!

secondly, what would I find different about the two?  I'm guessing with an Elise 30BHP is significant.......  So would this be felt lower in the revs or as advised, does the power come in later on in the revs range?

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Just keep your brain engaged and you'll be fine. If it's slippery out there, as it's likely to be in January, then just take it easy. With an S1 you can get into a slide by coming sharply off the power (lift-off oversteer) irrespective of the power output. So going too fast and panicking can get you into trouble. The solution is really simple, don't go too fast. The S2 has some more forgiving understeer built into it but a sharp lift or brake mid-corner can also cause the car to rotate. You'll learn to see this as a good thing with time on track but you shouldn't really be thinking about sliding the car at all on a test drive.

The most 'snappy' car in the wet I ever owned was a Honda S2000, the Elise is a pussycat compared to that but neither can be driven like an A3 so be sure to leave a margin for error just like you did on your first test drive.

I think the S1 will probably be the best choice in terms of holding its value but more because it's an S1 rather than the K-series engine. S2s clearly hold up very well too but in theory you might be able to get back more than you paid for your S1 if you look after it really well. I would personally buy a Toyota S2 as the gearbox is much improved and I love the way the 2ZZGE engine revs, it really suits the car. But some prefer the more linear, torquey feel of the K-series as well as the more gruff engine note. The Toyota cars sound a bit bland with a stock pipe but Holy Moses with a louder one.

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As The Pits has said you will be fine on any test drive unless you drive like an idiot. 

Engine wise the 111s is a K series with VAriable Valve Control added by a special head. The 111r is a Toyota with VVC. Both being 1800 units the gains will all be at the higher end of the Rev range. You won't notice much difference day to day on the road but on track or when you need to go for a tight overtake.....

As for which will hold value best - only time will tell! The S1s are now definitely considered classics but I read recently that prices are stabilising on S2s too (first couple of years of which still have the  K series). Toyota has a much better reputation for reliability but most of th K series 'issues' are easily avoided and not fully justified in my opinion. So the K was what the car was designed to have and maybe in time this will be seen as the 'original'....

i would still buy the R though if you can afford a good one as lots of other bits are higher spec too. If you don't have them then if you are like me then you will be adding later on anyway!

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